One of the most important pieces of our leadership program and woven through so much of what we do at the school is character development. Starting at the Junior School, students are introduced to the language of the Virtues Project. Each month, Tessa Lloyd, our Junior School counsellor, posts the “Virtue of the Month” and it will be shared on this blog. Take this opportunity to speak to your child, no matter what grade, about this virtue.
Virtue of the month for September 2013: Friendliness
Friendliness seems a very wholesome virtue with which to start our school year. Like apple pie, it is a favourite with everyone. It may seem small, but it is very important. When friendliness is used freely, life improves. All our efforts would be for naught if it we left our friendliness at home. Bring it to school, in copious amounts.
Friendliness has a beautiful, reciprocal quality that has the ability to energize and produce joy. It is the pebble from which ripples flow. When we give friendliness, we receive. The more we give, the more we get. The more we get, the more we give! If we want others to be more friendly, the first action begins with ourselves.
Not a great deal is required of us to give the gift of friendliness. Making eye contact. An expression that says ”I understand”. A smile. A touch. Warmth in the words that we choose. An offering of help. All contribute to a warm, welcoming and inclusive environment, where we feel known, appreciated and cared for. Friendliness matters a great deal.
Leo Buscaglia said: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around”.
If our children follow our example, how well off will they be in the friendship department? In a world where Facebook friends can be a dime a dozen, how do we treat and respond to people in our day to day interactions? How do we handle conflicts, and how and when do we reach out? What do girls learn about friendship from their mothers, and what do boys discover from watching their fathers? Children pay attention to gender differences, and style their social relationships accordingly.
We’ll be talking about friendliness a lot at school this month. At home, we hope you will extend the dialogue. Here are some questions that you may wish to pose to your children…
What does it mean to be friendly? Why would we practice friendliness? What is a friend? What is a “good” friend? What do we look for in our friends? How do friendships happen? Why are they important to us? How do you feel when people are friendly to you? What are some signs that people are acting in a friendly way? Why do some people have a hard time being friendly? What do you do daily (at school, at home, in the community) to show friendliness? How do you feel when you are friendly to others? What advice would you give to someone who wanted to make friends?
Let’s use our friendliness muscle to help all our new students adjust to their new school, and for us all to benefit from a stronger, more caring community.
Tessa Lloyd, Junior School Counsellor